Samsung is better in America

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

The Galaxy S range is Samsung's flagship device. Most research and development is focused on improving this product. All the best tech is reserved for the premium smartphone - which every year, is one of the best smartphones released.

One of the most important components in a smartphone (or any computer) is the processor. This little chip receives and executes every command. The cameras, the music player, voice calls - everything - has to go through the processor, which is capable of performing billions of calculations per second!

The industry standard processor for Android phones is Snapdragon, which is manufactured by Qualcomm.

Samsung make their own processor, called Exynos.

Benchmark tests measure a processor's peak performance. Snapdragon scores higher than Exynos on these tests.

The most notable difference between the two is with respect to sustained performance. Exynos struggles when running back to back applications for long periods of time. This is due to temperature. As the chip continues to work, it heats up, and we see a disproportionately greater decrease in performance compared to Snapdragon.

Snapdragon is around 10% faster at peak performance, and 20% faster in sustained performance.

Here's how this translates in the real world - in a Samsung with a Snapdragon chip versus a Samsung with an Exynos chip:
  • Better GPU performance enables games and emulators to play at a higher fps, so it's less choppy.
  • Superior image signal processing results in noticeably higher quality photos and videos, despite using the exact same camera system.
  • In some cases, tests demonstrate slightly greater battery life, though they are typically about the same.

Despite this, some users report better reliability or longevity with Exynos. It's not a clear case of one is better than the other - they each have their pros and cons. The consensus is that Snapdragon is best overall, but the gap has been shrinking with each generation.

Bottom line: Both of these chips are excellent, but if you're a keen gamer or photographer, you're going to want a Snapdragon for sure.

So surely Samsung put the better chip in all of their flagship phones, right? Afraid not.

Samsung release two versions of their flagship phones, including the S22, to cover different regional markets.

S22 with Snapdragon:
  • North America
  • South America
  • South Korea
  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Australia (got it for the first time last year)

S22 with Exynos:
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Southwest Asia
  • Middle East

Why do this?

The Snapdragon chip is more expensive, so Samsung cut costs by splitting their product line in two.

You would think (hope) that the Exynos version handset would be cheaper, but sadly that's not the case. For reasons way beyond the scope of this post, Samsung choose to sell their phones at the same price worldwide.

Samsung phones are manufactured in South Korea and Vietnam. Imported goods are subject to import tax which varies across regions. To offset the greater import tax in Europe, Samsung could either increase the selling price or decrease the manufacturing cost. Increasing the price would make the product less competitive, so more consumers would buy other brands such as Apple, thus Samsung would lose market share. A slightly slower processor is not a deal breaker for most people - so that's the trade-off.   

Samsung signed a patent agreement deal with Qualcomm, which blocks them from selling Exynos devices in the US.

Having two processors to choose from can also pay off if one of the manufacturers experiences supply chain issues. Samsung make millions of phone, and having all their eggs in one basket could result in manufacturing grinding to a halt.

Can you use a US spec Samsung in the UK?

Yes, you can. But there are some downsides. Manufacturer warranty is regional. Samsung Pay will not work - though Google Pay will. You wouldn't receive certain region-specific updates. You only get 5G with some network providers.

But now there's no need to import. The wait is almost over...

The Galaxy S23 is set to be released in February, and reports have confirmed that it will be equipped with Snapdragon 8 Gen2, worldwide!    
For the first time, we will experience the Galaxy in all its glory.

Those that upgraded to the S22 might be kicking themselves right now. But let's wait and see how it performs. 

We do hope that this doesn't bring an end to Exynos. The fewer manufacturers in the space, the fewer options for consumers. More competition drives innovation, but also keeps prices down as companies strive to outdo one-another. Perhaps Samsung will reserve Exynos for the A-series, and continue to close the gap between their mid-range and high-end devices.

Thanks for reading!

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